Poor, poor JJ and V were kind and endured Thanksgiving at my house once. I felt a bit bad because it was not the typical holiday, my cooking sucked (for more information, see the about page) and the conversation was lack-luster. There was no hot-tubing, no polar bear swim, no beach, no hike, no snorkeling. We used to enjoy a tradition of travel on holidays. Christmas in Hawaii, Thanksgiving at the Grand Canyon. I am always happy to forego those standard obligatory and mundane holiday traditions like Turkey at home, TV and a nap for a nice Sushi Christmas Eve dinner or a Thanksgiving day hike.
This year my mother complained and said that someone else should “take over”. I said, “Ok.” So what’s on the agenda for Thanksgiving this year? Rome, I think. I’ve talked a bit about holiday traditions and food. What I plan to do this year is pick up a rice dish from each place I go on holiday.
Here is the schedule so far:
Memorial day weekend May 28th Victoria, Canada – Swiftsure
For those of you who don’t know, Swiftsure is one of the biggest international yacht races on the West Coast. It’s been one of my goals in life to crew on a boat in this race. Maybe it’s in the cards this year, but if not I’m going to go to watch anyway. I didn’t find a lot of recipes for rice dishes from Canada, but I do know that for the Ojibwa Nation wild rice was a diet staple and was offered as a sacrifice to the spirits. Poutine (french fries covered with gravy and cheese), Tourtiere (meat pie), Nanaimo bars, Bannock (a First Nations bread recipe) and strawberry juice (also a First Nations Traditions) are the main “traditional” dishes of Canada.
Labor Day weekend Sept. 3rd
Rice-a-roni, the San Francisco treat. Ok, so that’s not exactly a secret recipe, but China Town in San Francisco has some wonderful rice dishes. I think my son needs a little history lesson in the counter culture movements in the U.S. What better place to end the summer than at the hub of the Summer of Love: Haight-Ashbury? I’m hoping to stay at the Red Victorian Hotel and look into the Peaceful World Traveling center. Who knows where it might take us…http://www.peacefulworldtravel.org/
Columbus day Monday Oct. 8th
New Orlean’s have been on my list for a while now. I haven’t been there since before hurricane Katrina. If there is one place in the United States that is the obvious center of rice Haute cusine it is New Orleans. Dirty Rice. Jambalaya. Yes, I realize this is still during hurricane season, so tickets should be cheap…
Veterans Day Monday Nov. 12th
It may be good to stay close to home this weekend as my travel plans currently include literally flying almost around the world in the few weeks after this. I have a few ideas but on the top of my list is a Buddhist retreat. If anyone has any ideas, or would like to join me this weekend, drop me a note. Let’s be serendipitous.
This is a great time to go somewhere out of the United States. My choice at the moment? Rome. Of course, Risotto sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.
Hawaii in December. Ah….Ahi, Poke, Lau Lau’s, Pinapple, Mangos, coffee….Thanks to the Japanese and Philipino’s living there rice is served with almost every dish in Hawaii. The most famous and potentially the most dangerous is Loco Moco. You may suffer a heart attack just looking at it.
In the meantime, I leave you with a little Hawaiian primer. Haupia is a coconut pudding. It’s light and delicious. I like mine sprinkled with a little cardamon and toasted coconut. My son likes his with pineapple. If you really need a coconut fix, have it with a Chi Chi – like a Pina Colada only with Vodka instead of rum.
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups coconut milk
Place the cornstarch, sugar, and salt into a saucepan; stir in 1/4 of the coconut milk to make a smooth paste. Stir in the remaining coconut milk, and bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until thickened so that it coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish; refrigerate until cold.